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Professor Ismet Gursul
Professor Ismet Gursul

Internal News - 04 May 2006

Bath engineer wins prestigious aircraft research award

A prestigious award has been given to a Bath researcher for his pioneering work on understanding air flows over aircraft wings.

Professor Ismet Gursul, of the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been awarded the plaque and citation by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Professor Gursul’s paper Review of Unsteady Vortex Flows over Slender Delta Wings, is an analysis of the way air flows over the wings of aircraft as diverse as Concorde, fighter aircraft and micro air vehicles, as well as insect wings.

Although there are beneficial effects of vortices in general, the unsteady vortex flows can affect aircraft manoeuvrability and also cause performance problems and even endanger the aircraft in extreme circumstances.

Professor Gursul’s paper sheds new light on these air flows and is a major step forward in understanding and controlling them.

Professor Gursul’s work on helping develop micro aircraft the size of bees made headlines around the world in 2004.

These tiny devices would be used for surveillance and be equipped with sensors and cameras. Their size and mobility would enable them to carry out a variety of military missions, including reconnaissance and surveillance, targeting and bio-chemical sensing. The aircraft could also make non-military tasks easier, such as traffic monitoring, border surveillance, fire and rescue operations, wildlife surveys, aerial photography, monitoring of seismic activity and hazardous substance detection.